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June 5, 2020 9:00 am
Today on Summit life with Jeannie Greer got a center of everything, every time you walk outside and look over the stars is screaming at you. You're not the point. The exaltation of God's glory is the greatest good of the universe and that might offend us in a culture grew up thinking and being told our lives that we were the point of it all that were special, that were unique that were snowflakes, but that is true.
Glad you joined us today so the question that many people have struggled with for never.
The question is if God is merciful, then why did he choose to take some and not others. Today Pastor Jeannie Greer will answer this and other tough questions as we move forward in our study of the book of Romans learned today that the mystery of God's ways should always point us to his sovereignty also to our unworthiness. So grab your Bible and let's get started chapter of the Bible that is the chapter that everybody loves and everybody memorizes this is the chapter that most people would prefer to skip in the book of Romans. But I'm surprised all of you here today.
Quite frankly, maybe you will be next weekend. Honestly, it's hard to find good resources to help teach this chapter because most Bible teacher skip it more than once I have been tempted just to say read it on your own and I'll come back. The chapter didn't. This is a crazy important chapter crazy important is the most extensive discussion in Scripture of the tension between God's sovereignty and man's free will and today you hear terms like Calvinism or or predestination or reformed theology. These are all kind of things that that that get raised in this chapter. This chapter deals with with those question. The central question is how much is God actually in control of the details of history does he choose people for salvation, or did they choose it for themselves. Now, whenever this topic comes up.
People always immediately want to know.
Okay Pastor JD.
What side of this debate. Are you on and honestly I take it as a little bit of a complement when people don't know you see the Bible. I believe the Bible maintains a tension between those two. And so when I am dealing with the text of Scripture that emphasizes God's sovereignty. Well, I want to sound like a Calvinist when I'm preaching those parts that emphasize our responsibility to choose and why our praying or sharing Christ makes an actual difference in the eternities of others. Well that I want to sound like a non-Calvinist.
I am perfectly okay if that creates an unresolved tension in my preaching, I determined a long time ago that I would rather get to heaven and have God look at me and say sign you preach my Bible a little too literally and have him say why did you explain away all those things he did that with your theories don't listen, I know that Scripture and God never contradict themselves, but that doesn't mean that you and I have the capacity to resolve everything in a relatively tiny little minds. After all, talking about the ways of God. You ought to expect some mystery sign of things like quantum physics and chaos theory and mathematics have taught us anything it is that apparent contradictions are often resolved by expanded knowledge in the dimensions that we were familiar with yet. And of course if that's true in the natural world, how much more would we expect it to be true in the supernatural.
Whenever I get into this. I remember the words that my wise dad gave me when I first came home from college with all these questions that I been introduced all these questions, it Calvinism and I came home and discovered him with all these questions will talk about the stuff I was reading in my dad listen very patiently he said son just want you to know the people a lot smarter than you have been arguing about this for 2000 years and they haven't figured it out yet to be encouraged. Okay, you're probably not to be the got it figured out either. You should just go ahead and resolve that you're going to preach Jesus and so that's what I've been trying to do now for as long as I've been in ministry. By the way just so you know my background I was not raised in a church that you would call reformed inside the Christian school. I grew up in was fiercely non-Calvinist. We loved all those whosoever will passages we get invitations every week.
We want people to get saved all day every day.
We talked about why the world. Salvation was all of God's and why no true Christian would ever drink, play cards, get attached to or go to the movies snatcher hall that tied together, but that was a world I grew up in. I'm grateful for a lot of the things I learned there. Dogs do not everything of cost continued on the left. Some of that behind but that's all. I grew up, and then in God's wonderful sense of humor.
He led me to fall in love with a beautiful presbyterian girl and you know the Presbyterians and emphasizes passages about God's sovereignty for Beck.
She told me she said in her youth group.
They had a class on the five-point. We never had him five-point to Calvinism.
We never had that in my youth group and then we got married. Yes, yes we got married you say what was that what was that marriage like a legalistic. We gotta save the world, independent badness that free in Christ frozen chosen Presbyterians. How is their first year marriage was basically I baptized her a major quit drinking and consented to the fact that it was all predestined that happen.
That's how that went down. I was compromised well just like our marriage.
I consider my own theological approach amount process to be a blending of two perspectives. So when I get to those passages that emphasize our responsibility to choose, try to preach and just like the written and when I get the ones emphasize God's sovereignty to preach those just like the written also. Okay, so don't hate me and just the mailman. Maybe you're smart enough to figure out how it all works together. Bully for you, let God sort it out for me one day. But here's what all of us need to understand we jump into this okay. Romans nine is in our Bibles for reason, it is no accident that Paul includes this discussion about God's sovereignty immediately after all those triumphal declarations in chapter 8 about God's unwavering commitment to fulfill his purposes in our lives because were asking what how can I be sure that what God is started a meal actually finish. How do I know that somebody else in a mess that up. But I know that I'm not going to mess that up. You see, is, as Paul says in chapter 8 as he is, is proclaiming in chapter 8 that is reported as you predestined those he predestined her to call and those he called he justified in those he justified, he glorified as Paul is saying that he hears in his head and objection. Remember he's been doing this all throughout remedies hearing these objections of people that he hears this objection were somebody's is more amenable what what about the Jews. They were chosen by God, were they not. And clearly they have fallen away. They rejected Jesus so that is the question that Paul starts answering in chapter 9. Why did the Jews rejected Jesus, and if God failed with them. How do we know he won't fail with us also in the first three verses of your Bibles open their Paul makes clear that this is not just an academic or philosophical question for him that he says something rather astounding. He says if I could I would revoke my own salvation if it meant that would would lead to the Jews getting saved. These were his countrymen. These were his friends. These were his family.
This is not some ivory tower seminary discussion.
It is deeply personal, that I just need you to understand that going him that this is a very personal thing for Paul, not just a philosophical using them in verses four and five. Paul acknowledges and laments the fact that Israel of all people.
He says they should have believed the identifies in verses four and five, several spiritual privileges. What say that Israel had that no other nation on earth had God adopted them to himself by delivering them miraculously thought of Pharaoh's control in the Exodus even do that for any other nation.
From that point on he poured out on them manifestations and miracles and he spoke to them through the prophets time he gave them pictures and foreshadowing's of the gospel through Moses. He gave Israel his law which was that the perfect reflection of his nature. They hosted the temple where God himself dwelt in that had all these different things.
It depicted the salvation process every single one of the prophets who foretold the coming of Messiah was a Jew and when Jesus finally showed up. He was born as a Jew and he lived his entire ministry exclusively in Israel so of all people. Paul says, of all people, the Jews should have recognized Jesus when he came. These were a people of deep spiritual privilege. So what happened what happened, and more importantly how was this not a failure of God's purposes, and if God failed, then how can we be sure that God will do any better with us.
Paul breaks this question down into four questions.
He's going to break the whole passage down into answers to these four questions sums can walk you through the chapter, section by section and show you how Paul is answering these four questions that's that that the him frame the bank and at the animal to give you some conclusions on it. Okay, question number one. Here's the first question he deals with. Has God failed to keep his promises.
The answer is no, no, and here's why. Verse six Paul explains that not every Jew born in Rachel Israel was a member of the actual Israel from the very beginning. Paul says being a true Jew, was a matter of the heart and not simply something of the flesh, not your ethnicity. Now it is not as though he says were six not know the word of God is fail because not all who are descended from Israel or Israel.
Neither all of Abraham's children.
His descendents now that would've left the average Jew in Paul's day, scratching his head, was that me what it means is that even in the Old Testament that was a distinction between Jews who were only Jews by heritage and those who embraced Abraham's faith from the heart, the covenant that God had with Israel.
Paul explains was never about ethnic identity.
It was always about personal trust in his promises that you remember when we were back in chapter 2 how Paul explained that circumcision true circumcision was not the cutting away of skin on your physical body. True circumcision was the cutting away of spiritual deadness from your heart.
The real circumcision was a circumcision of the heart and not everyone in Israel experience that Paul uses to examples there to drive that home. The first one is there in verse nine Abraham has two sons Isaac and Ishmael, Isaac represents the son who embraces the promise Ishmael represents the other son of Abraham, who rejected it. All of Abraham's descendents fit into those two categories promise in racers and promised projectors made even more clearly look in verse 13 Isaac who was Abraham's son himself had two sons. One was Jacob who we had a pretty rough pastor was by all estimations a sleaze bag. He eventually embraced God's promises.
The other was Esau a rather impressive young man who traded his stake in God's promise for a bowl of soup. The writer of Hebrews gave us a Esau, a represents those Jews who failed to embrace God's promise in their heart because they would not bring the lust of their flesh under the submission of God's law. Those two kinds of people always existed in Israel.
Paul said, and God never had a relationship with the Ishmael's in the Esau's.
So Paul concludes you can't say that the Jews rejection of Jesus is evidence that God sometimes loses the sons and daughters. He foreknew and predestined, he never knew a lot of those people.
Those are the ones who rejected Jesus, and you can see that even in the Old Testament.
At the first question okay question number two is God unfair and how he dispenses mercy answer.
Again, no verse 14 what should we save it. Is there injustice with God. Absolutely not.
For he tells Moses also mercy on whom I will show mercy and I'll have compassion on whom I will have compassion. The question here is one that you probably had honestly not had is whether God somehow did something wrong by only showing mercy to Jacob, and for knowing him and not doing the same thing we saw, but the definition of mercy. Paul explains listen to this. The definition of mercy excludes any sense of obligation. The definition of mercy is that you receive something that you do not deserve. If you deserved it. It would not be mercy, it would be justice. And so if God doesn't owe anyone mercy you can't say it is unfair for him to not show it to somebody. Paul's reasoning goes like this. Are you saying that God owes somebody salvation when of course you're not saying that and of God owes no one salvation.
That means that God is free to give it to all people. If he wants to be free to give it to some people. He's free to give it to none people right with his choice and that God would have done us no injustice by leaving all of us to perish.
What was fair is that all of us be left in the condemnation that we had chosen for ourselves. That's what he established in chapter 23 we chose a condemnation. We chose it freely. What was fair is a God leave us. They are the fact that any of us know it is sheer grace. So Paul is saying.
Let's make sure that we are framing this question in the right way.
John Stott will bridge the illusion used to swing like this post with any God's justice is to proclaim his mercy. That may seem backward us, but it's not Paul's indicating that the question itself is misconceived because the basis on which God deals St. Louis sinners is not justice. Thank God it is mercy but still you ask why got you some and not others. Paul explains in verse 16 will will first. You realize that had nothing to do with your inner goodness or how much you or I deserved it but we says were 16 so then, is not depend on human will or effort, but entirely on God who shows mercy that means God did not look down from heaven and they owe that one yet. He's got some potential OIC a little good, left, and that went okay. That was really sincere. Okay, he's Aegis piece has been dealt a bad hand let's go down, let's say that one because I can see I can see the deep down he's good. No, none of us deserve it more than anybody else. God's choice to bestow. It was undeserved grace from top to bottom. Now that is not mean that God's choices were arbitrary as of God shut his eyes metaphorically inserted one any meaning mining Mo into starting picking people at random.
Paul never said that God had no reasons for his choosing just that the reasons for his choosing. Do not correspond to goodness in us. We believers can feel no superiority over unbelievers because it was not anything in us any kind of goodness that called forth God's choice in verse 17 Paul gives you a hint at God's reason is just a hint, it's not a full answer, but he says uses Pharaoh's is a God's not choosing a Pharaoh was so that through Pharaoh's resistance, God would have an opportunity to put his power and glory on display. You know anything let the Old Testament remember Pharaoh was the guy that said no, 10, 11, 12 times to Moses when Moses said, God commands let my people go right, and he said no I'm not going to do it. Verse 17. The Scripture tells Pharaoh I raised you up for this reason so that I could display my power in you know my name not be proclaimed in the whole earth. In other words, Pharaoh's hardness of heart gave God an opportunity to show his power over wickedness and his loving commitment to save his children that God would have not had it, Pharaoh had not resisted God so strongly that lead you. Question three is God unjust then and holding us accountable is God unjust and holding us accountable again know if Pharaoh here's a question if they really should play the role that he supposed to play.
How can he be held accountable for that for many of you this is your question you look at God is the one is in control of who hears and who believes how can he condemn those who were simply playing the role that he's been assigned to play Paul's first answer to this is to show you that God's rejection of Pharaoh was consistent with Pharaoh's own choices invite. Here's the key question who rejected whom first did Pharaoh reject God first or did God reject Pharaoh first while Scripture does indeed say that God hardened Pharaoh's heart to resist his message but listen that statement comes only listen after the sixth plague. If you go back and read the first five plagues, you will find this statement. One example is that is a 13 Pharaoh hardened his own heart five times. It says Pharaoh hardened his heart and after Pharaoh had done it five times God just said okay and God began to hard the point is God is not the blame for Pharaoh's heart heart Pharaoh is someone's rejection of God is always presented this way. When Jesus lamented the Jews rejection of him. In Matthew 23. This is what he said but it is my the 23 full Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets. He still knows that were sent to you how often I longed to gather your children together like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but theirs is not a God sovereign choice and so you're predestined and that's what it happened. Know what you say but you you really I was calling you. I was calling you and you would not come.
I know this might hurt your head a little bit CS Lewis correctly says that hell is always a door that is first lot from the inside. In other words, it's true that if anybody saved the credit is God and God alone. But if anybody is lost. The blame is 100% entirely bears the late D. James Kennedy was Presbyterian uses is really helpful.
Illustration is at say five friends of mine decided they were in Rabobank and I found out about go out of season here say that out of our campus pastors. I hear going to down Rabobank right and so I find out about I go to the place where there get ready go, my guys this is terrible. I dig in this and I know never to do it and all six of us, or walk out the door and I pick the weakest one I tackle him and pin him to the ground. The other five go robbery goes bad. You know they get caught, a guard get shot to civilians. These guys are tried their convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Here's LG. James Kennedy asked it. Whose fault was it the other men were arrested and sentenced to enabling me because I didn't stop him out this other man is now walking around free because he never went there with the act, and he never got convicted. Can he say oh it's because my heart was so good because I was so wise that I resisted the temptation. That is why I will free know the only reason that he is free is because of me.
I restrained him.
So what is that those who go to hell. Have no one to blame but themselves. Those who go to heaven. Have no one to praise what Jesus Christ does, we see the salvation is all of grace from its beginning to its in question number four is God's choice to save only some that inconsistent with his goodness. This is the other big one on for me. Honestly this program most probable Paul hears in his mind the objection that a good God, a good God would save everybody. Why would God let anybody perish. Paul's answer verse 20 but who you all near man to talk back to God. What is form say the one who formed it, why did you make me like this. Now keep in mind will be established.
God didn't make you reject him. That was your own free choice, they say, having understood that that was your free choice. You know, why would you when I look at all creation say what a God let this happen or has the Potter no right of the clay to make from the same well one piece of pottery for honor and another for this honor. If God uses your own free choices to reject him to set up a display of his glory. Can any of us accuse him of the injustice and if you say a good God would've had different plans for his creation.
Paul says really, really think that you are is wise and as smart as God what is God wanting to display his wrath in the make his power known what he endured with much patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction. And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory and objects of mercy that he had prepared beforehand for glory. Some researchers a tough truth, the ultimate end that God pursues in all things, including my in your salvation is his glory. Tim Keller says like this if God had mercy on all were condemned all witnessing his glory.
I don't think Paul is giving us much more than a hint here, but it's a very suggestive yet for the biggest question is this. If God can save everybody why Dudney and here Paul seems to say that God's chosen course to save some and leave others when the end be more fit to show forth God's glory than any other scheme that we could imagine. And honestly that's a hard truth wrestle with and that is because you and are used to thinking of ourselves and our interest is the most important element. The most important reality in the universe, but we are not and it is not God's glory is the ultimate thing in the universe may take a clue from the very structure of the universe itself right you outside look up at the stars and you have this moment we realize the human race is just a fragile organism on a tiny speck of dust in a remote corner of a medium-size backwoods galaxy that is but one of billions of such galaxies.
God is the center of everything, every time you walk outside look up at the stars is screaming at you. You're not the point. The exaltation of God's glory is the greatest good in the universe and that might offend us in a culture who grew up thinking and being told our lives. We were the point of it all that were special, that were unique that were snowflakes, but that is true center.
Everything keeps his promises to us is ministering to know that he's always in control even when we don't feel like it. If you missed any part of this message, or if you'd like to catch up on the rest of our series to romance. You can always listen online, free of firstname.lastname@example.org so JD, in addition to our Senate live broadcasts.
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Call eight 335-5228 685 20 we can donate online mall, even if it's so thankful for another strong week castigating. Let me invite you to join in enabling this challenging Romans chapter 9 right here on life and by Katie Greer minutes